On Wednesday (August 5, 2015), we took the train from Nice to Antibes.
Antibes is a picture-postcard seaside town that hugs the shores of the Mediterranean between Nice and Cannes. It’s 16th-century ramparts cluster around the Le Vieil Antibes of narrow cobbled streets, the flower and vegetable market and the old port. Antibes grew from the ancient Greek trading port of Antipolis More recently, in the 20th century, Antibes became the favorite town for, among many other artists and writers, Picasso, Nicolas de Staël and Max Ernst and the novelist, Graham Greene.
Today it’s famous as one of the Mediterranean’s premier luxury harbours, where sleek white, multi-million dollar mega yachts bob at anchor in the sheltered harbor near Vauban’s Fort Carré. Greater Antibes takes in Antibes, the gorgeous private villas of Cap d’Antibes, the technopolis of Sophia Antipolis to the north, and glitzy modern Juan-les-Pins, internationally known for its summer jazz festival. More information here.
Antibes-Juan-les-Pins Quick Facts
- 80,000 inhabitants
- Second largest town on the Côte d’Azur
- Located between Nice and Cannes
SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français; “National society of French railways” or “French National Railway Company”) is France’s national state-owned railway company and manages the rail traffic in France and the Principality of Monaco. SNCF operates the country’s national rail services, including the TGV, France’s high-speed rail network. Its functions include operation of railway services for passengers and freight, and maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure.
Eva overlooking Port Vauban in Antibes.
Port Vauban is a French yachting harbor located in Antibes on the French Riviera. Originally a natural harbor in use since before the Roman Empire, the port was fortified by Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban, later Marquis de Vauban, King Louis XIV’s military engineer.
Port Vauban now serves as the home of the Yacht Club d’Antibes and is the largest marina (in terms of total tonnage of the boats and yachts moored there) in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the world’s largest and most lavishly appointed yachts have Port Vauban as their home port, including Russian oil businessman Roman Abramovich’s 86 m Ecstasea and his gift to fellow Russian businessman Eugene Shvidler (Le Grand Bleu). Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen’s yacht Octopus is a regular visitor to the harbor. In the early part of the 20th century, Port Vauban also accommodated numerous seaplanes and a seaplane manufacturer.
As of 2012, typical rates for a berth in Port Vauban are between €1m to €1.4m.
Plage de la Gravette is perhaps the most beautiful of the Antibes public beaches, discreetly tucked away behind the ramparts at the end of the port. With fine, white sand and luminescent water, this idyllic beach attracts a loyal crowd of locals that just wouldn’t be seen at any other beach.
The Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi at Antibes, is built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis.
After having housed a temple and then a chapel in Roman times, a fortified tower was built at Saint-Jaume which was to be completely destroyed in the 17th century. A few decades later, the Bastion Shipyard was built here, where Captain Cousteau’s famous ship Calypso was kitted out. The shipyard closed in 1985. Destroyed because it had fallen into disuse, the building gave way to a vast area highlighting the famous fortified remains of the curtain wall, beautifully renovated. Today, this area features the Nomade sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. More information here.
Today, I returned from the rainy and coolish Paris for the hot and sunny Côte d’Azur. I remembered reading about a colourful street near the Gare de Lyon (from where the TGV train to Nice was departing). However, I wasn’t sure where it was; I just knew that it was near the train station in. So, instead of taking the Metro all the way to the Gare de Lyon Metro stop, I got off the train at Bastille and walked to the station with the hope that I would find it. Along the way, I discovered Rue Cremieux, the colourful street that I had hoped to see.
I learned that the street was named after Adolphe Cremieux (Nimes, April 30, 1796 – Paris, February 10, 1880), lawyer and politician, member of the Government of National Defence. He was also the author of a famous decree of 1870 which gave French nationality to Jews in Algeria.
Rue Cremieux has been a pedestrian street since 1993 and is paved and lined with small houses with three floors and colorful facades.
Only 2 minutes up the street, I arrived at Gare de Lyon.
Paris-Gare de Lyon is one of the six large mainline railway stations in Paris, France. It handles about 90,000,000 passengers every year, making it the third busiest station of France and one of the busiest of Europe.
The Paris-Gare de Lyon was built for the World Exposition of 1900 and the architecture used in the construction of this train station is a classic example of the architecture of that time period. The station has been modernized to accommodate the high-speed TGV trains that whisk travellers throughout France.
From Rail Europe:
There is one word to describe TGV. Fast! The world speed record holder, it zips from city to city at up to 322 kph (201 mph). With Paris as its hub, this high-speed French network interconnects throughout Europe making it an attractive alternative to the plane.
If we had to find another word to describe the TGV, it would have to be “often”. Because every day 450 trains crisscross the network, offering you a wide choice of journey times.
The TGV is France’s technological gem, constantly improving comfort and performance while also keeping sight of the planet’s well-being. In fact, eco-mobility is at the heart of the TGV experience. From the aerodynamic design of the lines to the manufacturing of the trains, each step is carefully researched to minimize the impact on the environment. Even our drivers are trained to ‘drive economically’ (power off when going downhill, adapting the speed to rail grip-reducing electricity consumption by a third). It continues throughout, with light fixtures that use low-energy light bulbs, air conditioning that adapts to the number of travelers, waste that is compacted and waste water that is recycled.